Book Expo America. The illusive (or not-so-illusive, when you consider the scale of the Javits Center) trade show I have spent years dying to attend. Having now gone, I can tell you it is basically awesome. Overwhelming, yes, but still wonderful.
There is something to be said for walking into a building of hundreds (thousands?) of people and knowing each and every one of them is a book lover.
I was lucky enough to make it to the YA Buzz Panel this morning, which was great because the lovely Kat Zhang’s book was totally hyped up (as it should be!) by her editor. There are so many great YA books coming out in the next few months, so it was great to hear from the editors why. Why they acquired them, why they’ll change your life.
Not only that, I finally got the chance to meet some of the Pub Crawl girls in person! Which was a long time coming, and an extra fabulous perk of the day.
But BEA is overwhelming for someone going for the first time. There are a LOT of booths, a LOT of people, and a LOT of books. Some of which you won’t be able to get your hands on, try as you might. I met so many people today (and finally got to hand out my new business cards!), and got to catch up with old friends as well.
And, on top of all that, I still managed to get a decent amount of work done, too! So, overall, I’d say it was a very productive first BEA. Which leads me to…
Tips for those of you still going this year, and reminders to myself for 2013!
1) I have been told that 1-inch wedges are the best shoes to wear. After walking around all day in the flatest flats I own, I’m going to say this is probably a good suggestion. To the women I saw shleping it in 5-inch heels, my hat goes off to you. I’d probably have amputated my foot after an hour. (Okay, who are we kidding. I would’ve lasted maybe ten minutes.)
2) Wear layers. I had been warned of this ahead of time, and it was solid advice.
3) Bring your own food. As is true with every convention center I’ve ever been to, the food is overpriced and never that good. (To be fair, my chicken tenders were fine, but my friend was not so lucky in her choices.) Power bars are a great idea, and don’t forget bottled water.
Note: If you must buy lunch at the Javits, do NOT eat at 12:30. Everyone eats at 12:30, meaning the lines are long, and seating is scarce.
Note the second: If you want to eat lunch outside the convention center, there are a few pretzel/hot dog trucks. There’s also a Micky D’s a block away. Otherwise plan on hiking a few long blocks to the nearest eateries.
4) Bring tote bags if it’s your first time. BEA Virgin Syndrome, as I’m calling it, hits hard and fast. You step into this massive room full of free books and catalogs and swag, and people literally just throw stuff at you. If you’re like me, you’ll feel bad about turning anyone down, so you take everything that you’re given, even if it’s a book you probably won’t read. So on top of the numerous books you want to read, you’ll end up hauling around a bunch of other books, too. So come prepared.
Note: It’s $3 to check your bag (in cash), and after trying to carry my weight in paper around for a few hours, I caved.
Note the second: A few of the booths hand out tote bags (I saw Harlequin and Soho Press bags, amongst others), and McGraw-Hill is basically handing out luggage this year. I would have died without their bag. (Thanks, McGraw-Hill! You’re the best!)
Books I managed to procure this year, in no particular order:
HENRY FRANKS by Peter Adam Salomon
MISTRESS OF MY FATE by Hallie Rubenhold
THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray
SKYLARK by Meagan Spooner
THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
THE RUINS OF LACE by Iris Anthony
SUMMER AND BIRD by Katherine Catmull
COLIN FISCHER by Ashley Edward Miller and Zach Stentz
SKINNY by Donna Cooner
WHAT’S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang
PRODIGY by Marie Lu
THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken
THE MIDDLESTEINS by Jami Attenberg
VENOM by Fiona Paul
IN A GLASS GRIMMLY by Adam Gidwitz
THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers
I’m not gonna lie, I’m already wishing it were next year. I’ll at least know what to expect, and I’ll be much more diligent about getting the books I want (and saying no to the ones I don’t). The BEA 2012 app kind of saved my life today, and for those of you who suck at reading maps as much as I do, a lot of the publishers have hung handy signs from the ceiling. It’s absolutely perfect.
In fact, this entire day was pretty perfect. Thanks to all the lovely people who made sure it was!